Police: Hempstead man robbed more banks following release under bail reform law

A Hempstead man who allegedly robbed a fourth bank after his release under the state's new bail reform law was arraigned in court Thursday.

Romell Nellis allegedly held up the Roslyn Savings Bank in West Hempstead and another bank in Valley Stream in December. He was arrested on Jan. 8, but was quickly let go under the state's new bail law.

After being released, officers say he committed two more robberies. One of them was allegedly at the same West Hempstead bank. He was arrested again on Tuesday.

Nellis shared a video on Facebook of him cutting off an ankle monitor in November, before he had robbed the banks. A law enforcement source says he was given permission to cut the monitor off at that time.

However, authorities say Nellis was fitted with a new monitoring device on Jan. 10, but then cut that one off without permission and violated probation. They say he skipped out on two court dates and robbed the banks shortly thereafter.

Ann Smith, Nellis' godmother, says her godson likely has a drug problem and needs to be admitted to rehab.

Prosecutors say Nellis has a long criminal history, including three felony and three misdemeanor convictions. Due to that record, the judge says Nellis faces a minimum of eight years behind bars if convicted.

Nellis is being held on $1 million cash bail. He is charged with grand larceny, violation of probation and multiple counts of robbery.
He's due back in court on Feb. 18.